The Foundation of Servant Leadership Theory

  • Steven Crowther
Part of the Christian Faith Perspectives in Leadership and Business book series (CFPLB)


The ideas and concepts for servant leadership have been around for centuries in different forms. Nevertheless, in the 1970s, in the midst of a hotbed of leadership theory development, Robert Greenleaf proposed an idea at first about the servant being the leader. This idea grew into a concept of leadership in the writings of Greenleaf and others growing into a researched model for leadership. Then in the twenty-first century, there was an explosion of literature in many areas of leadership theory and thinking. Some of these areas included virtues and even spirituality as an important component of leadership and leadership development. In this context there emerged several new ideas concerning servant leadership. Some of the foundational ideas came from Winston and Patterson. Winston gave us some new terminology for this construct in using the word agapao for the leadership idea of love. Then Patterson developed a virtue-based model for servant leadership that built upon the ideas of Greenleaf but expanded it. In her model, the virtues of leadership are the central issue, however; it is done in such a way that it facilitates the ability to research this theory of leadership. It is this endeavor that is central here to research and expand this theory based upon a fuller examination of Scripture and its connection to leadership.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Crowther
    • 1
  1. 1.Grace College of DivinityFayettevilleUSA

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